I have become responsible for a workstation which runs a single program, which interfaces to some hardware and runs a process. I'm worried about this machine failing and the process being down for an extended period of time. As a mitigation stratagy, I would like to ghost the existing machine (so take it down for a controlled amount of time) and install that ghost image as a VM. My thought is, if the program were to become corrupted or the hardware were to fail, it would be a simple matter of reinstalling a VM and I'd be back in business.

My question is, when I ghost this machine, do I need to reinstall the image on a workstation with the exact same specifications?

For clearity, this is my plan;

1) Shutdown and ghost image workstation A (production machine)

2)Instal hypervisor (VMWare vSphere) and ghost image (as a vm) on a second machine (workstation B)

3) Test workstation B for functionality

4) Switch production over to Workstation B

Computer is a Dell Optiplex workstation running Windows XP.

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    What operating system(s) are you working with? – Jay Jul 24 '12 at 21:55

It would help to know the specific operating system and hypervisor solution you're working work, but assuming defaults of Windows and VMWare, the path of least-resistance would be to run a physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration using VMWare vConverter.

That should satisfy your requirements. VMWare vConverter is menu-driven and is quite easy to run, provided you have an existing target (workstation B).

  • Workstation is running Windows XP. My thought was to use vSphere. But I am new to the world of virtualization. – Michael Jul 24 '12 at 22:01
  • @Michael Um... well, whatever. You should probably look into the difference between Workstation and vSphere, and see if you actually need vSphere, but either way, the resultant VM should work fine on either. – HopelessN00b Jul 24 '12 at 22:10
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    I concur with ewwhite. Just thought I would suggest to do a dummy run when time allows so you can actually test the system out prior to use. Just for example, vmware converter often messes up domain controllers. – Robin Gill Jul 24 '12 at 22:27

If you restore the exact (ghost) image on different hardware then windows is likely to throw a tantrum. I would:

  1. Make an unaltered ghost image. If all goes well you will never need this one.
  2. Use sysprep to wipe all HW info/drivers from windows.
  3. Make a second ghost. This one will be deployed to your VM.
  4. Boot the original PC and reinstall drivers, or restore the first ghost image.

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